Rioux ready to roll for Fife Flyers league opener

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Fife Flyers’ defenceman Nicholas Rioux is set to arrive in Kirkcaldy tomorrow (Monday) to prepare for the start of the 2015-16 EIHL season.

The 28-year old blue liner will have a full week training with his new team-mates before making his debut in the double header against Coventry Blaze on Saturday and Sunday.

He is the final piece in the jigsaw for coaching staff Todd Dutiaume and Danny Stewart.

Rioux joins the club’s colony of former Quad City Mallards players - he iced for them in the ECHL last season as well as skating with AHL outfit Iowa Wild.

A native of Riviere-Du-Loup, Quebec, this will be his first season playing outwith North America - and Dutiaume is looking forward to making the airport journey to collect him.

He is the last of the eleven new signings to make it to the rink, and the coach is excited at the prospects ahead.

‘‘It is vital to get him into our team,’’ he said. ‘’We’ll get a full week to let him settle into our time zone, and spend a week on ice with us.

‘‘With him in our line-up we will be even stronger at the back end.’’

Rioux will join a side that has made an instant and positive impression on fans with its grit and workrate in a 4-4 draw with Belfast Giants and a 6-4 win over Edinburgh Capitals in pre-season exhibition games - over 2200 turned out to see the opener in Kirkcaldy against Belfast.

Sunday’s game saw Flyers secure the win on the back of a 4-2 final period as short-benched Caps tired, with TJ Caig settling with the issue with a last minute empty net strike.

Dutiaume rolled four lines as promised and gave ice time to all his players including back-up netminder Craig Douglas - his first action since stepping up to replace Blair Daly.

Dutiaume said: ‘‘Overall we’re delighted with the weekend. It was important to give everyone ice time, and tonight we were able to try out some different combinations.

‘’We have guys who are versatile and can jump in at any time, so I’m pretty pleased overall with the options we now have.’’

>> Next game: Fife Flyers versus Coventry Blaze, Saturday, September 5 - ticket details from www.fifeflyers.co.uk or the ice rink box office.